Thursday, August 16, 2012

YA book review: The Color of Snow

The Color of Snow
by Brenda Stanley
Genre: YA contemporary
Format: ebook, 413 pages
Publisher: Tribute Books (
June 1, 2012)

Blurb: Can a troubled young girl reenter society after living in isolation?

When a beautiful 16-year-old girl named Sophie is found sequestered in a cage-like room in a rundown house in the desolate hills of Arbon Valley, Idaho, the entire community is shocked to learn she is the legendary Callidora--a baby girl who was kidnapped from her crib almost seventeen years ago and canonized in missing posters with portraits of what the fabled girl might resemble. Authorities soon learn that the cage was there to protect people from Sophie, because her biological father believes she is cursed.

Sophie is discovered after the man she knows as Papa, shoots and injures Damien, a young man who is trying to rescue her. Now, unsocialized and thrust into the world, and into a family she has never met, Sophie must decide whether she should accept her Papa’s claims that she is cursed and he was only trying to protect others, or trust the new people in her life who have their own agendas. Guided by a wise cousin, Sophie realizes that her most heartbreaking challenge is to decide if her love for Damien will destroy him like her Papa claims, or free her from past demons that haunt her mind.

My review: The Color of Snow is a thought provoking contemporary YA novel about a genteel teen raised in secrecy and kept from the world by her father. Her dad, Luke, a man beat down by the unruly hand of fate at a young age, begins to believe the Romanian curse his mother placed on another family has come back to haunt and harm his new family. Overly protective of his newborn daughter, he takes her away after his girlfriend, Vee, dies giving birth to their baby and raises her on a friend's farm, hidden away from the world for seventeen years. If not for the brief friendship of two young brothers she met when she was twelve, friendship would be a foreign term to this young woman named Sophie.

Sophie is the epitome of innocence and when she is 'rescued' and brought to her grandparents house, the very things her father was trying to protect her from begin to attach themselves to her in various ways. These 'ways' are through the people she interacts with including family, church friends and the police. There were so many times I couldn't believe the amount of varying darkness this teen girl had to deal with. Sophie became the lamb set free in a corral of wolves. Ironically, the girl so many thought was abnormal turned out to be the most normal and selfless of the bunch. 

Despite his good intentions, Luke didn't handle his grief and predicament in life well by filling the mind of his daughter with his own fears and keeping her sheltered to the point of being reclusive. Her grandparents only continued her father's warped way of protection by being guilty of the same thing. Even the new kids at their local church wanted to use Sophie for their own selfish means to gaining popularity and the one guy Sophie loved since she was twelve, Damian, became mired in his own need to lay claim over her mind and body. The one saving grace in her new life was her cousin, Stephanie, a firecracker and loner, but the only voice of sanity besides that of Sophie. Their scene going horseback riding and traveling across a lake really resonated with me. Besides creating a lovely visual, this one scene truly epitomized Sophie's plight.

Sophie was an extremely interesting,totally unconventionally strong and sympathetic character. Whenever someone in her life began to show their true colors I could only wonder when she would find find someone decent and truly good. Sometimes all we need is the person inside of us to become the definitive version of who we need to be. Despite the obstacles she continually faced, Sophie did manage  to emerge from the fracas of her new life a better, stronger version of herself. By tackling such sensitive issues as family and societal norms, the selfishness of many, the rigors of religion and  the ease at which we place labels on people, author Brenda Stanley has created a startling novel of complexity and she does it with gentility.

As much as I enjoyed reading the backstory of Luke and some of the secondary characters involved in Sophie's life, as the story progressed I did want these 'other' viewpoints to move at a quicker pace so I could learn more about present-day Sophie. I understand what the author was doing and filling in these blanks did enrich the story but since I became so engrossed in what was happening with Sophie, she became my main focus--which may be viewed as a testament to Brenda Stanley's talent for creating viable characters. To better understand the Sophie of today, we had to see where she came from but being slightly impatient, I wanted to discover all of her secrets a lot sooner. I also questioned why Vee would let her father name her baby Callidora, a Greek name, when she knew he hated Luke (a Greek) and her dad only named his racing horses using Greek names.

Tribute Books continues to publish a wide variety of incredibly unique and strong voiced titles in their YA division. I may have finished reading The Color of Snow a few days ago and yet its characters still remain in the forefront of my mind.

Rating: 4

Cover comment: This cover. though lovely, is just okay.

Book source: I received a promotional ebook copy in exchange for my honest review during a book tour.

1 comment:

  1. Laurie, thanks for the review! I'm glad you're enjoying our YA offerings :)